Protesters take action against the Star

A group of black students upset with the Northern Star took action at a protest in the King Memorial Commons Friday.

Thousands of copies of the Star were taken from various drop-off bins throughout the campus, with a ransom note stating “If you want your Northern Star, come to the MLK Commons at 12 noon.”

At noon, black students gathered to listen to Ronell Tate, who gave a speech on the reasons for the protest, including calling the newspaper biased against blacks.

“The reason that we’re here today is because we are here to express our dislike over this paper,” Tate said. “There are many things we can do, but we’ve decided to do this as a start and this is just a line of things yet to come.”

Tate went on to say that as one body of people, no one can stop them. “We are people that right now are divided on this campus but as you see when we come together, no one can stop us,” he said. “We are on the inside today. Look who’s on the inside today while the caucasian is on the outside.”

Although the original plan was to burn the papers, Tate said the law prevented the protesters from doing so. Instead, Tate and others gave out papers to their audience and told them to “rip them all up.”

Tate cited the use of student fees for the Star, calling for those fees to be used for the black student publication “Lifeline.”

“They take our money at the beginning of the year and put maybe what is somewhere in between a dollar and $5 in this paper,” Tate said. “I propose that we take our money from the paper and put it in the ‘Lifeline’ newspaper.”

The fee Tate was referring to is the $1.42 charged to each full-time fee-paying student that goes into the Star. The fee also is refundable.

NIU Judicial Director Larry Bolles said he was very concerned about what happened Friday.

“I think there are a lot of problems on this campus right now that result from bigger issues than what we saw today,” Bolles said.

“Students feel very strongly about this and I’m very concerned,” he said. “I want to do anything I can to make sure that this does not explode.”

“Taking the papers was not the right step. I think it could have been done a lot better,” said Eric Lynch, an NIU sophomore accounting major who attended the protest.

“I think what’s needed is a meeting between the editors of the Star and the leaders of the group doing the protesting. We’re losing ground on the equality we’re trying to gain, and they should all try and find a middle ground.

Brian Wohlgemuth, a Kishwaukee Community College student, said he went to the rally out of curiosity.

“I heard they took all the Northern Stars because they thought the paper was racist,” he said. “The demonstration is a stupid idea. If they don’t like the paper, then don’t read it.”

“I’m disgusted that they ripped up the papers,” said Thomas Kegel, sophomore communications major.